One of the things I have realized in the last year is that I don’t want to be in another unsuccessful, stressful relationship. I did that for 25 years. I’m over it. I would rather be alone than with someone that doesn’t make my life better. There are some pretty heavy consequences to making that decision though.

loneliness-cheat-sheet

The reality is I will likely be alone for a long time. I’m currently not putting any effort into trying to meet someone. I’ve gotten rid of all of the dating sites. I will never go back to those. It isn’t one of my priorities right now.  That doesn’t mean that if a wonderful man showed up at my door that I would turn him away.

The probability of “running into” a man that wants to take on the complexity of my family is slim. Someone willing to learn about my son’s diagnoses and be a positive influence in my his life. Someone that accepts that I am a strong woman that has a successful career. Someone inspiring and passionate. There just aren’t a lot of people out there like that. It’s just a fact. That’s a really really tall order. I get that and will not accept less.

One of the hardest parts is the lack of physical interaction. Making this choice doesn’t mean no sex (sorry mom). I’ve tried the “friends with benefits” thing. That didn’t work for me. I’ve tried one night stands. While that fills an immediate sexual need, it actually makes me feel worse in the end. What I realized is that it isn’t just the sex that I was craving. I miss snuggling, making out, warm hugs, someone’s hand resting on your lower back.

Because I am a realist I know I have to mentally prepare for being alone long-term. It is a choice I’m making. I have to accept the consequences of that decision. I spent 25 years of my life in monogamous relationships. Up until 3 years ago I had never really spent much time alone. This is uncharted territory for me.

How am I preparing myself to be alone long-term?  Doing what I love. I’m spending a lot of time hiking and enjoying the outdoors. Throwing myself into something I’m passionate about helps a lot.

I’m also enjoying writing this blog. I get so much great feedback. People saying I am inspiring them to make changes. As I’ve said before, helping others is a great way to help with feeling lonely.

Self-awareness is critical. When I am feeling lonely I make poor decisions. I have to check in with myself regularly. I watch for the signs that I need to show myself some extra attention.

I don’t feel like preparing to be alone long-term is pessimistic. It’s realistic. I’m still hopeful I will meet that person one day. I just can’t make my happiness depend upon that.